I have played no poker for about two weeks. Instead, I have been moving forward—quickly–with my personal life. I have two pieces of good news to share.
First, Janeen and I have bought an apartment in Brooklyn. It’s been over a year since I initially decided that I’d had enough of my current neighborhood and set Brooklyn as my preferred next destination. At the same time, Janeen and I were feeling ready to move forward with the relationship, so when I took Janeen on a driving tour of my favorite borough and she decided that many of its neighborhoods remind her of Chicago (her hometown), we started apartment hunting in earnest. That was around Thanksgiving.
A couple of weeks ago, Janeen found a listing for a converted brownstone on a very nice block in Carroll Gardens. We took a look at these new condos and we both liked them very much. They had much more space (three bedrooms) and were much nicer (completely new fixtures) than what we’re used to. Upon leaving the brownstone, I declared that we would soon be living in it. And that’s pretty much how I usually roll– I’m not much of a shopper. Still, I wasn’t sure if my history of impulse purchasing would (or should) apply to real estate. As it turns out, I was true to my word. After a bit of haggling, Janeen and I now find ourselves “in contract” for one of the condos, which means that while we don’t officially own it yet, it would be a pretty bad beat if we don’t end up moving into the place in a month or two.
This apartment will be the first truly grownup purchase of my life. And the majority of the down payment, which is not a small sum of money, has been won playing poker. It occurred to me that I would never have been able to afford this apartment had I remained a lawyer. This fact has put my success over the past two years into sharp perspective, and, naturally, made me quite pleased with myself. Our new home will very much be a poker place: not only will it be purchased with poker proceeds, the third bedroom will be converted to an office, providing me with an amazing spacious new place from which to play.
The apartment news is big, but it’s not the biggest recent development in my personal life. I am also happy to announce that Janeen and I are now engaged!
If you watch basketball regularly, you are probably familiar with the following scenario: one team is leading comfortably with less than a minute to play. The game’s outcome has been decided. The fans recognize this and begin to file out. The players also recognize this, and their intensity wanes as they jog up and down the court going through the motions. All that really remains is for the clock to expire, and then they’ll all go take showers. But wait! What’s this? Oh no. The coach of the hopeless team orders his players to intentionally foul the players on the winning team, thereby stopping the game clock and sending the other team to the free throw line. He’s trying to trade short three point possessions for one or two points on the other end. This can be very effective in a close game, but it is nothing more than so much futile nonsense in a blowout, and it can extend already-decided games for what feels like ten or fifteen additional minutes. Many basketball coaches will needlessly employ this strategy even when it is apparent to anyone watching the game that victory has become a mathematical impossibility. It’s quite annoying. Okay, so what’s my point?
In recent months, I had become that stupid coach. Janeen and I have long ago discovered our love for each other, the mutual trust we share, and our comfort level in our relationship. Our eventual marriage has been a foregone conclusion for some time. But the remnants of my old commitment-phobic self had kept me calling silly timeouts even though the game was really over. On Thursday night, I finally decided to just let the clock roll.
Those who know me well are aware that I’ve historically been somewhat of a wandering soul in general, and a reluctant and sometimes reckless partner in many of my relationships. I now believe those traits were symptomatic of the discord and dissatisfaction I felt during the eight years that I was unhappy with my job. My unhappiness never drove me to seek solace in a partner. I was more inclined to use all of my free time searching. Ironically, it took a change to professional gambling for a stabilizing effect to occur—the self-satisfaction this switch created put me in a place where I was finally willing to accept (and perhaps was even seeking) permanence in my relationships. So poker made my engagement possible in a way.
Which is not to say that Janeen isn’t awesome in her own right. She’s the perfect partner for me, and I’m so happy that I’ve met her. She’s smart, kind, beautiful, witty, fun and supportive. She also understands what makes me tick. While poker may have made my engagement to Janeen possible, I also firmly believe that there is a symbiotic affiliation between the two, because I would not be doing as well as I am at poker without Janeen. Even though she can barely name the four suits in a deck of playing cards, she’s my official poker coach. That’s because she instills confidence. She knows all the right things to say to me when I’m running bad, and she understands and tolerates the lifestyle I’ve chosen. Having her on my side is the best. In order to exercise clear thought and sharp decision making, you have to be emotionally at peace with yourself. Janeen has put me there, and she is an indispensable element of my success. I love you Janeen!
So how do a pair of new Brooklynites get engaged? You take a limo to Brooklyn’s quintessential five star restaurant—Junior’s—and order champagne and comfort food. Duh!
Ghetto fabulous baby!